Taking down Christmas

Note:  I won’t go into details about what happened two years ago that changed my life so radically, so please don’t ask. Thanks.

Today I took down the outside holiday decorations.  Wanted to take advantage of sunshine and no rain.  Tomorrow I’ll deal with the inside things like the tree and my Dickens Christmas Village.  Usually taking down Christmas isn’t quite as much fun as putting it up.  But I realized this year was different for me.

Two years ago I had the worst holiday season ever and only had decorations up because things had gone bad after I’d already decorated.  Otherwise, there would’ve been nothing up at all.

Last year, I chose to buy new ornaments for the tree so the decorations didn’t remind me of happier times and things I’ve lost, thus sending me into a major bout of crying.  The year before, December had been one long month of non-stop crying.  No desire to go there again.  I didn’t put up any decorations last year other than the tree.  Nothing outside.  No village on my bookshelf.   The tree with the new ornaments wound up being just right.  Festive, quiet, and not overly triggering.

Along came this year.  I didn’t feel Christmas-y at all.  When I saw ads for the holidays on TV, I felt like I was seeing something for other people, but not for me.  It was like Christmas had ceased to be something I celebrated.  About midway through December, I saw a cute little tree at the grocery store that needed a bit of love.  A Charlie Brown tree.  So I brought it home, decorated it with the previous year’s new ornaments, and felt happy to see the tree looking bright and festive and not in the least pitiful.  So there.  I had a decoration. A tree.  My tree.

Then I found myself thinking about the cute lighted deer family in my storage shed and remembered there were a number of new families in the neighborhood with small children.  Small children love holiday lights, so I decided to put up the deer.  The next night I decorated the bushes out front.  The next night I added lighted plastic trees.  Suddenly my outdoor decorations were the brightest on the street and it made me happy to be bringing a bit of holiday cheer to my neighbors.

So now I had a tree and outside lights and decorations.  I kept looking at my bookshelf that looked so empty without the Christmas Village.  I brought the village out of storage and realized if I set things up differently than I had in the past, it may not be triggering.   I left out some parts of the usual decorations that I knew would have connotations with people no longer in my life, and added a few new things.  And suddenly I was happy with my village.

Basically, I’ve learned this year, that now as a single older adult living alone, I can make my holidays about me and whatever I want them to be.  I can avoid things if they bring me grief.  I can embrace things that perhaps in the past I avoided for the benefit of others. Surprisingly, I found a sense of freedom this holiday season.

So taking down the outside decorations today was liberating.  Rather than feeling sad the holidays were over, I felt victory as I looked at each item and thought about the moments of joy each had given me during another sad and difficult holiday.

Remembering where I was two years ago and comparing it to where I am now, I realized how much progress I’ve made.

I remember thinking on the Winter Solstice, “We’re half way out of the dark.” It felt like a message of hope in a dark and difficult time.  Taking down Christmas today made me feel that way again.  That I’m on the upward path out of despair and darkness.

Hope.  Encouragement.  Light.  I wish you (and myself) these things in the New Year as we journey our way out of the dark.


Christmas for the cats

I’m thinking seriously about buying a remote control BB-8 droid because I think my cats would love it. I may have just crossed over into the Official Cat Lady Nerd Zone.  I received money from my dad for Christmas, and here I am trying to find ways to spend it on the CATS. I guess my dad actually gave a gift to his grand-cats.  🙂

Shall we begin again?

The last time I updated this blog was back in July.  I’ve been thinking about what to blog about here quite often throughout December, and have decided today, as we head into the new year, I’m just going to start sharing things and see where it all goes.

There are things that have happened in my life over the past two years that have shaken me to the very core of who I am.  I know I’m not ready to openly share about what’s gone on (and actually may never be ready).  But I’ve learned a lot through it all and will probably share the occasional snippet of wisdom now and then.  Probably not actual wisdom per se, but at least things I’ve learned that apply to this time in my life.  Other people’s mileage may vary.

I guess that’s one big thing that’s been hammered home for me is that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that fits everyone in all circumstances.  I think we often get ourselves into a bit of a mess when we try to apply our personal solutions or personal answers to other’s lives.  We’re all a mix-and-matched collage of individual problems, individual people, individual questions, individual circumstances.  So of course we would need individual answers.

Well, that’s it for January 1st, 2018.  I would say I’m going to try to post something every day this year, but life happens and I may not even post something new tomorrow.  I think what I’ll try to do in the coming weeks is sit down and post things as I’m inspired.  Maybe once a week.  Maybe three times a day.  Who knows?

I also plan on sharing my fortunes from fortune cookies throughout the year.  Just because.  🙂

Happy New Year!


“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.” – Fortune cookie

Updated the “About” page

I just updated the “About” page for this blog.  Even if you’ve been hanging around here for years, please take a moment to check it out.  Things have changed a great deal from the “Life: The Journey” days and you’ll probably want to get up to speed so you don’t wonder what on earth happened to the old blog.

“Life: The Journey” served a purpose for me in an earlier stage in my life, but the journey has changed as I’ve changed over the years, and the previous story about my husband’s illness, my church activities, and my children have all moved into new stages (or moved on entirely).

Anyway, please take a moment to read the updated “About” page.  Thanks!

About – Through My Window



I’ve been trying to remember to write down at least a short outline of any dreams I remember upon waking in the morning (or after a nap).  What do you dream about?  Do you think dreams have meaning?  Do you remember your dreams?

Here are three dreams out of my notebook:

  1. I dreamed I’d flunked a class in the MFA program and wasn’t going to be able to graduate on time.  This is a recurring dream.  The flunked class was a Math class and there aren’t any Math classes in the MFA.  Plus, I’ve never flunked a Math class in real life.  Dreams are weird.  Oh, and these dreams occurred after I’d already graduated from the MFA program.
  2. I dream regularly that an estranged family member and I have a kind, compassionate, non-angry talk about what’s been happening.  The dream is so realistic that when I wake up, I feel as if it’s really happened.  But then it’s so overwhelmingly sad when I realize it was just a dream, and at this point is far from coming true.
  3. I dreamed I lost my purse and all my personal ID on a trip to Room 130.  What is Room 130, you ask?  I have absolutely no idea.

Shaded Window Box

The new format of this blog is truly just a glimpse into my life.  So, here’s this week’s high adventure.

Someone who owned my home prior to me had the bright idea of putting a flower box on a window underneath the carport roof.  Never at any moment throughout the day (or even throughout the year) does that flower box get direct sunlight.

Over the years, I’ve tried to find ways to dress up the flower box.  Various holiday decorations worked temporarily.  I tried artificial flowers/plants, but they just looked … um … artificial. And who wants that?

One day, I was in the floral department of my local store and noticed the houseplants.  It dawned on me that houseplants often never get direct sunlight, so on a whim, I bought a collection of houseplants to put in my covered window box.

They actually survived year around … until I forgot to water them this past winter.  Poor little dried out plants.  I felt like a neglectful plant mama.  We rarely get hard freezes in the Seattle area, so they had survived the winter temps, but not the human-induced drought.

Well, this week, I restocked my covered flower box with house plants.  And I promised the dear little things that I would remember to water them throughout the year.  Fortunately, the flower box is right by my front step and I have to walk past it each time I go to my car.  So I should remember that they’re there and they need my care. But I can selectively see what I want — or don’t want — to see with great talent, so we’ll see.  😉

If you have a shaded window box, maybe try houseplants?

Here’s a photo of some of my new babies (and I noticed looking at this photo that I need to clean the wall and flower box front — so yes, this is a real glimpse into my real life, smudges and all):


Beginning this blog’s transition

This blog has been titled “Life: The Journey” ever since it first took shape many years ago.  I’ve decided the new format that this blog will undertake is more of a glimpse into my—often boring, sometimes exciting, always puzzling—life.

So, how do you glimpse into something?  Why, through a window, of course.

My intention for this window’s future is to write short blog posts, sometimes including photos of mine.  All the window photos that appear randomly in the header are mine, by the way.

So are we ready to get started?  I am!  Or maybe not.  Well, either way we’ll see as time goes along.

If you’re out there reading, could you let me know in the comment section?  Just testing the waters …